We have been contemplating a 12-hour family trip this Summer to attend national championships at which the Professor will be competing as an All Star. I've been psyching myself up for it, growing in confidence that this week-long event will not only be possible but incredibly fruitful and fun. Rent a large enough vehicle. See the sights. Visit friends. Watch great volleyball.
I did think that. Until... a two hour journey this weekend jerked me back into reality; the reality that I have become a pathetic traveller.
A very short time into the trip, Jellybean started complaining and crying about her stomach. I had come prepared with plastic bags (just in case) but didn't have time to grab them so I caught what she threw up with my hands. She felt a little better but continued to whimper.
About 15 minutes later, Button started to complain about her stomach and mumbled something that appeared to contain the words "throw up." I didn't intend to miss it this time so I whipped out a plastic bag into which she promptly vomited. Of course, the edge of the bag folded in (it always does, silly mommy) and it ran down her coat and dress (at which point I deeply regretted not bringing extra clothes for her). She felt a little better after that but Jellybean was still crying...
... so I climbed to the back of the vehicle to sit with her. She was much happier but it wasn't long before I started to get that feeling in my stomach. Sorry, Jellybean, mommy has to go back up front before I need a bag, too. Is motion sickness hereditary?
At the tournament, I was able to see the Professor shine. And took a lot of very blurry pictures.
Sport centers are not generally family friendly (no changing tables, no seating, no outside food allowed, icky toilets) but we made it through intact. Thank God for grandpas who come laden with blankets, contraband sandwiches, Jolly Rancher lollipops, birthday goodies for tired little boys and strong arms.
After 8 hours, I was more than ready to go home and looked forward to a quiet car ride with sleeping children...
... except that didn't really happen. The little girls promptly dropped off to dreamland but baby boy cried for an hour and a half. I tried everything short of removing him from his seat. I did briefly get him to stop by showing him pictures of himself crying. But he lost interest quickly.
I'm thinking that, come Summer, we'll take the money we would have spent renting a vehicle for all of us and buy a video camera instead. "Be safe! Don't forget your breviary! Call when you get there! Love you!"
Every moment of that day was consumed with mothering intensity. The sounds and sights and physical burdens were amplified and there was nowhere to rest, to regroup, to seek silence. The senses were consumed and prayer was reduced to an occasional word. I confess that I took the baby into a bathroom stall just to sit for a couple minutes... to be in relative quiet, surrounded by nothing but shiny blue walls.
These are the days when I realize the power of a sincere Morning Offering and the blessing of home.